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The Lady Vanishes Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Hitchcock comedy thriller is tame old-school fun.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Alfred Hitchcock classic contains several fatal and non-fatal shootings (though barely any blood is shown), plus an inferred strangling and some hand-to-hand fighting, which is more comical than serious. Social drinking (champagne) is fairly frequent, and a plot line revolves around a character possibly getting drugged. There are some don't-try-this-at-home stunts on a moving locomotive.

  • Families can talk about the suspense in the film. Does it hold up as well for modern audiences as it did for the viewers in 1938?

  • Iris is a pretty old-fashioned movie heroine; a male bails her out of trouble and does the serious fighting (and most of the thinking). Talk about how screen starlets have changed (or not) over the years.

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Overall theme, if any, is that things aren't always what (or who) they seem. Even grandmotherly Mrs. Froy isn't the innocent person she claimed to be. Secondary point that the heroine doesn't have to follow through with the security of marriage if the guy seems boring.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Iris is an old-school heroine, basically decent even though she (a) comically clumsy and useless in a fight, and (b) faints a lot. She abandons a presumably dull, rich fiance for a more interesting (but poor and footloose) guy. Background characters are twits, spies, rogues, and scoundrels, though some have changes of heart. Two of the supporting characters are an adultrous couple -- a married lawyer stringing along his (also married) mistress, with talk of divorce.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Shootings and a gun battle, with some deaths and wounding, but very little blood. A hand-to-hand scuffle, characters stunned with blows to the head. Inference that a murder will take place in an operating room.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Scenes of young ladies in their slips. An insulting accusation that one character was born "out of wedlock." Two half-naked men have to share a bed together.

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking, with narcotic poison (supposedly) insinuated into liquor glasses, presumably champagne.